Hush Puppies is an international brand of contemporary, casual footwear for men, women and children. A division of Wolverine Worldwide (NYSE:WWW), Hush Puppies is headquarted in Rockford, Michigan. Wolverine markets or licenses the Hush Puppies name for footwear in over 100 countries throughout the world. In addition, the Hush Puppies name is licensed for non-footwear fashion categories, including clothing, eyewear and plush toys.
The Hush Puppies brand was founded in 1958 following extensive work by Wolverine to develop a practical method of pigskin tanning for the US military. (Pigskin is considered one of the most durable leathers and the government was interested in its use in gloves and other protective materials for soldiers.) Chairman Victor Krause developed the concept of a "casual" pigskin shoe to appeal to the then-growing post-war suburbia in the United States. The brand became instantly recognizable as a leisure casual staple of late 1950s and 1960s American life and experienced a resurgence in popularity in the 1990s.
The Hush Puppies name and mascot were coined by the brand's first sales manager, Jim Muir. Initially, the company's advertising agency recommended naming the product "Lasers." Then, on a selling trip to the southeast, Mr. Muir dined with a friend and the meal included hush puppies, traditional fried southern cornballs. When Mr. Muir asked about the origin of the name, he was told that farmers threw hush puppies at the hounds to "quiet their barking dogs."
Mr. Muir saw a connection to his new product. "Barking dogs" in the vernacular of the day was an idiom for sore feet. Mr. Muir surmised his new shoes were so comfortable that they could "quiet barking dogs."
Today, Hush Puppies has one of the highest aided brand recognition levels in the world, with many countries reporting over 90% recognition.